Tytus Gołas, CEO at tidio.
In difficult times it may be difficult not to see things in black and white. Your business may need to downsize. You may urgently need to relocate all of your employees to another location, close one of your offices, and set up a home office for each employee.
As a CEO, you don’t have everything under control. However, you can specify the areas in which you have influence and try to maximize your impact. Below are five ways to do that.
1. Be transparent about what’s going on.
Whatever the crisis, open and honest communication is absolutely crucial. Depending on the situation, your employees may have a different level of awareness and a different view of the problem. However, it is your responsibility as CEO and business leader to address the crisis.
A relevant example of a potential lack of transparency is what is happening with regard to redundancies. In recent years, some companies have had to resign thousands of employees† These days I notice that some companies tend to get up loud and fall silent. People see countless publications, trust the company and really have no idea that an internal crisis could arise. The only way to avoid unpleasant surprises is total transparency. Here are some things a company can do:
• Publish the state of your finances and a timeline of how long they can last if you keep the same expenses.
• Enter a system of statuses. For example, green can mean that everything is fine; yellow can mean you expect to cut costs and delay new recruiting processes; orange can mean lowering costs and postponing raises; red can mean lower salaries; and black could mean layoffs.
Of course, it would be perfect if every company stayed at the “green” level. But even if some don’t, the employees will be aware of all the changes and potential problems. It is vital to address the situation, openly tell what has happened or what is happening, announce your decisions and assure your employees how much the company cares about them and their well-being.
2. Plan how to deal with the crisis and share it with the team.
Every crisis needs a management plan. You may have very little control over the situation. However, you do have full control over what actions you take internally within the company. Hold a meeting with department heads and managers to plan every step you take as a company to support employees. Brainstorm ideas, be willing to make compromises and accept that plans may change as the situation evolves.
As a CEO, of course, you want to make all these decisions on your own. However, this is not the correct approach. You’ll be amazed at how valuable your colleagues’ insights are. Ultimately, no one knows the employees better than their team leaders. Together, you can come up with a strong plan to deal with the situation. In addition, it is a good idea to train managers and leaders in communicating with employees in crisis situations. Then ensure that the plan is shared with the company.
3. Introduce relevant benefits.
More than ever, it is essential for companies to be aware of the benefits they offer and to make them as meaningful as possible. A great benefit idea is to cover the cost of psychological support, offer mental health days off, and purchase a subscription to services that support mental well-being.
This kind of psychological support is a nice addition to the company’s daily interaction with its employees. However, when a crisis hits, it becomes an absolute must. Therefore, every CEO should consider providing their employees with some form of mental health support in their crisis management plan.
4. Focus on empathy and relationships in the company.
Leading with empathy is crucial at all times. However, it can be a real game changer when your team faces external challenges. Try putting yourself in the shoes of your employees, ask yourself what they might be feeling and thinking, and base your actions and words on these inner findings. Stay present and connected with your team, seek feedback, don’t disconnect from what’s going on and always ask questions, even if it feels difficult.
A simple, “How do you feel about the situation?” asked at the right time can create space for honest discussion and provide valuable insights into your team’s view on the issue and their feelings and emotions. This contributes to building relationships in the company. Nothing can replace a united team in the face of hardship. No matter how sophisticated and sophisticated your systems and processes are, if you don’t build a culture that values team relationships and empathy, they’re of little use.
5. Take care of yourself and your well-being.
For some leaders, this may be the hardest advice to follow. But your personal mental health and well-being are just as important as that of your employees. If you’re constantly exhausted, burned out, anxious and irritable, you don’t have the inner resources to support your team and grow your business.
You have every right to feel as stressed and stressed as any employee in the company. However, being aware of your feelings and taking steps to improve your well-being is what distinguishes you as a strong yet humane leader. Be open about your emotions regarding the situation and don’t hesitate to enlist the help of your company as well. Staying strong as a CEO is the most important step in making sure your company stays strong too.
Every CEO would prefer not to encounter hard times during his business trip. However, this is practically impossible. By following these steps, you and your team can emerge from difficult times as a more resilient and united group of professionals, with strong values and ethics.